When we plan team building activities for our clients, we obviously need to cater to their specific needs and tastes. One thing we have noticed, when working for international clients, is that they often include the request for food-related experiences in their briefings. When travelling to Italy, unsurprisingly, business travellers don’t want to miss out on the local cuisine and they want to experience Italian food in a more complete and authentic way than might happen back home. That’s why our cooking classes turned out to be among the most popular team building activities for our international clients. One aspect we decided to implement early on is regional variety: if you want to taste (and learn to cook) authentic Italian food, you should always go for the local traditional recipes, rather than trying to learn how to bake Panettone in Naples or Pizza in an alpine resort. That’s not to say that outstanding pizza and delicious Panettone are not to be found outside their regions of origin, but it’s certainly better to learn about them in the place where they were born. If you too are planning to book a food-related team building in Italy, here are 3 of the best recipes you might want to try your hand at, and where you should go to learn all about them.
Pizza – Naples
Of course you want to learn about pizza. And, to be honest, you don’t really have to go to Naples, in order to take a pizza-making class by a very competent pizzaiolo: such classes are now available all over the world. There is, however, a different emotional aspect to this particular experience, if you happen to be visiting the actual birthplace of the first ever pizza. The oldest pizzeria in the world, which opened in 1738, is still in operation in Naples. From a team building point of view, pizza making is an excellent activity, in that it is both fun and competitive. Once you learn the basics of mixing and kneading, you will be racing your colleagues to get the shape, size and texture right as soon as possible, and to master the subtle art of baking your pizza in a stone oven until it’s just the right balance of fluffy and crispy.
Risotto alla Milanese – Milan
A significant number of our clients travel to Milan on business and book team building days while in or around the city. Because of the overwhelming international popularity of certain Southern recipes, we are often asked, by such clients, to book pizza-making classes or Tuscan wine tastings for them. Now, while this is perfectly possible, by choosing these options you will be missing out on the opportunity to learn how to make the perfect risotto. A much misunderstood recipe, the traditional Risotto alla Milanese can be found in many Italian restaurants around the world, but it seldom tastes like it should. In most establishments, restaurateurs try to save on the most expensive ingredient – saffron – by using curcuma to achieve this risotto’s typical bright yellow hue. By learning this recipe from a local, you’ll discover the beauty of balance and the importance of details, you’ll observe the difference a pinch of spices can make and learn the secrets to the smoothest stir-fry you will ever taste.
Orecchiette – Apulia
Do you want your team building experience to teach your employees to be patient, observant, detail-oriented and to persevere in the achieving of their goals? Then do book a trip to Apulia, and take a cooking class with a local chef to learn how to make orecchiette. This delicious brand of handmade pasta is part of the tradition of the whole region and each city has its own recipes with it (which might involve sauce, meat or seafood, depending on the season). The subtle art of making orecchiette is handed down from one generation to the next in many households, although it is increasingly less common for young people to learn it from their grandparents, than it is for them to take a fancy cooking class in a local masseria. If you travel to Apulia, book your team building session and learn how to make this incredibly satisfying, ear-shaped pasta. It will take you some time to get it right. And you will enjoy every second of it.